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NEA newsletter-202211

Latest Progress in Environmental Protection Laws and Regulations, Product Recall Case, and Experts Q&A

European Commission publishes long-awaited draft proposal to restrict microplastics
In Sep 2022, the European Commission has published its long-awaited draft proposal to restrict intentionally added microplastics, increasing the size of particles covered and allowing a transition period of up to 12 years for certain products. The notable points are:

  • An increase in the size of synthetic polymer microparticles covered, from 1 nm to 0.1µm for particles and from 3nm to 0.3µm for fibre-like particles;
  • Allowing transition periods between 4-12 years for specific products
  • Exempting uses at industrial sites, medical products, fertilising products covered under the EU's fertiliser regulation, food additives and in vitro diagnostic devices;
  • Information requirements for companies, including a requirement to indicate on the label, packaging, safety data sheet or package leaflet when a product contains synthetic polymer microparticles;
  • Criteria for permitted test methods to identify if the particles are degradable and therefore excluded from the scope of the restriction.

EU Issues New Legislation on Food Contact Recycled Plastics
On September 20, 2022, the European Union (EU) published Regulation (EU) 2022/1616 on recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food (the Regulation). The Regulation repeals Regulation (EC) 282/2008 and will enter into force on October 10, 2022. The Regulation lays down rules for: (a) the placing on the market of plastic materials and articles, containing plastic originating from waste or manufactured therefrom; (b) the development and operation of recycling technologies, processes and installations, to produce recycled plastic for use in those plastic materials and articles; (c) the use in contact with food of recycled plastic materials and articles and of plastic materials and articles which are intended to be recycled. The main contents of the Regulation include: compliance to the requirement of Regulation (EU) 10/2011 Food Contact Plastics; requires recycled plastic materials and articles to be manufactured using either a suitable recycling technology or a novel technology; and requires recyclers and converters to provide a declaration of compliance (DoC) etc.

EU RoHS Directive revises 2 exemptions
On 22 September 2022, the European Commission issued two directives (EU) 2022/1631 and (EU) 2022/1632 amending the exemption provisions in Appendix IV of the RoHS Directive.
  • New Entry 48 
    • Lead in bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide (BSCCO) superconducting cables and wires, and lead in the electrical connections between these wires.
    • Expiry date: June 30, 2027 
  • Add c) and d) to Entry 27 
    • Lead used in solder, terminal coating of electrical and electronic components and printed circuit boards, wiring, housing and connection of enclosed connectors in the following environments: 
      c)  MRI non-integrated coil, and the conformity statement of this model was first published before September 23, 2022;
      d)  MRI equipment includes integrated coils for magnetic fields within a 1m radius around the magnet isocenter in medical magnetic resonance imaging equipment, and the compliance statement was first issued before June 30, 2024.
REACH Annex XVII intends to restrict creosote and creosote-related substances
On 6 September 2022, proposed by France, intends to restrict the placing on the market and reuse of treated articles containing creosote or creosote-related substances in REACH Annex XVII. The restriction, introduced under Article 129 of the REACH Regulation, restricts the sale, reuse and secondary use of wood treated with creosote or creosote-related substances on the market.
Stakeholders are requested to provide relevant information to the dossier submitter (France). The filer may propose derogations from the proposed restrictions if justified on the basis of reliable risk and socio-economic information. If the filer does not propose a derogation, relevant stakeholders is responsible to propose a derogation in any consultation process, accompanied by adequate risk and socio-economic justifications.

Japan intends to ban 8 product types if they contain PFAS
Recently, Japan publishes a notice of the conclusion deliberated on the listing of prohibited substances (POPs) added to Annex A (elimination) to the Stockholm Convention and intends to ban 8 product types if they contain PFAS. The Japanese Chemical Substance Control Law (JCSCL) is the corresponding law of the Stockholm Convention and the prohibited POPs substances listed in Annex A (elimination) to the Stockholm Convention shall be added to the JCSCL as class 1 specified substances. The product types prohibited for import are: protective and antifouling agents for textile products, excluding paper and leather products; water and oil repellents; textile products with water and oil repellents; antifoaming agents; coating agents; optical fibres or coating agents applied to optical fibres; and fire extinguishers, fire extinguishing agents and fire extinguishing foam.

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